I don’t normally get political, and I’m not now either, but the other day something wonderful occurred to me when I was at work. First of all, when I’m not writing, blogging, interviewing, and promoting, I work at a bakery inside the HyVee grocery store in my smallish town of Bloomington, Illinois. If any of you don’t know about HyVee, it’s a midwestern chain that I like to describe as the Disneyland of grocery stores. Manners are applauded and friendly customer service is the top priority above and beyond everything else. Our motto is: A helpful smile in every aisle. Not only that, we pride ourselves on having excellent, clean, and local products, and if local products aren’t available, we make the items in house. For example, we don’t receive peach turnovers from our corporate factory, yet one of our customers… just one… loves them and orders them special, so we make them from scratch.
It’s that kind of treatment that sets HyVee apart from other stores and why it is the ONLY grocery store I would ever work for.
With that said, let’s go back to my original thought. As I was slicing some artisan bread for a regular customer, I realized how amazing it was that this regular was here in Bloomington all the way from Congo, Africa. I know this because he has an incredible accent, and deep, reverberating voice, had me asking where he was from a while back.
So as I’m helping him, I asked if his guests had gone back home to Belgium, a topic we had talked about the week before. He said, yes, and then, out of curiosity, I was prompted to look around the bakery. Here, standing before me was a customer from Africa, with friends from Belgium, one of our bakers is from Germany, another from Guatemala, a cake decorator from India, our newest employee is from the Phillipines, and I have relatives straight off the boat from Ireland with family from Korea and China. All these races, all these cultures working together, harmoniously in an area no bigger than the bottom floor of my townhouse. How fantastic is that?!
After all the turmoil, strife, and violence our country has endured over the last couple of weeks, shouldn’t we take an example from this little tiny map-dot in the middle of the United States and live and work together in peace no matter where we’re from, and what we look like? And as I close, the one thing I took away from this passing thought a few days ago, cutting bread for a man from the Congo, all of our cultures… ALL of them… are beautiful.